FAQ: A Note On Polls

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FAQ: Key Threads - IMDb Poll FAQs Index

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Thanks for creating and contributing to Polls on IMDb.

Advice on creating good polls has moved to FAQ: So You Want to Make an IMDb Poll? Here's How...

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The polls got a visual update this morning.

The previous version was interesting but we got a lot of feedback about people confusing the links for selecting the item, and more importantly, it just didn't work on mobile devices.

Both issues should now be addressed.

-hb

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Polls are also featured in the new 'Community' pull down menu in the black navigation bar that is slowly being rolled out. Some of you may already be seeing it.

-hb

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How do you like the new "related polls" box after you complete a poll that we launched today? It's fun to see how even the 80+ polls we've collected are "intertwined" some more than others. As we get more polls, it should show even more connections.

Hopefully this will encourage people to take more polls after they just finish one!

-hb

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Poll results now include a shortened version of the description, which makes the results page for polls that are "description-based" (like http://www.imdb.com/poll/rJKUU_NNlSk/results and http://www.imdb.com/poll/GNLUxUkQID0/results) make much more sense.

Note, there's not a lot of space for the description, but at least now it's enough to make sense of the results.
-hb

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tl;dr - we're continuing to invest in polls; growth is happening (slowly). keep up with the great poll suggestions.

I'm pleased to announce more placement promotion for polls:

1) we're getting on a more regular schedule for promoted polls on Facebook.
2) Twitter followers are trickling in - if you're a twitter user, we could use some help here gaining followers https://twitter.com/IMDbPoll
3) The home page placement includes "see more polls".
4) There is now a poll widget on most boards pages, which are heavily visited.
5) We have a new widget for 'recent activity' on poll pages
6) the related polls widget includes pictures which has helped a lot in the discoverability

This is in addition to several feature improvements including
1) poll results include descriptions, so keep giving us descriptions
2) we're giving poll credit to the author the poll result page.
3) consolidation of voting button so it's more obvious how to vote

-hb

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November 14th

character polls now include the name of the actor and title.

Note: for some characters this might not be exclusive, it might identify the wrong actor - remember you can still 'override' our selection of actor and title with a custom comment.

-hb

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We've got some great new poll discovery options that are live or will roll out shortly.

* Poll is now in the "Community" navigation menu
* We are publishing polls on a wide variety of names<=>actors<=>titles related pages. So you'll see a lot more related polls on a lot more of these pages in the coming hours and days.
* Our poll widget is on more of the heavily uses boards badges
* Twitter account @IMDbPoll is formed and we tweet new polls to that page.
* Our mobile site m.imdb.com is now usable with polls.
* We have an improved IMDb home page presence in the works.

To get the most benefit out of the last item, we have one small additional request for poll authors. Many of you are doing this automatically anyway. Start your poll with your most recognizable options where it's reasonable. For instance, if you're doing a doing "Most Evil Villains" put the few most recognizable options at the top. If you doing a date sorted list, put the most recent ones first. If the nature of the list doesn't allow for this, don't subvert the list order to accommodate this.

-hb

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The poll now has a fancy new placement on the IMDb home page - in the same spot that the old Daily Poll was (but much larger).

-hb

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A list of the polls you've taken "recently" are on your profile page.

We have not yet defined what we mean by "recent", and currently we are not showing your actual answers (although per the FAQ, this is still possible).

-hb

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Polls now appear on character pages!

http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0001448/?ref_=fn_al_ch_1
http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0001399/?ref_=fn_al_ch_1

-hb

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Well, we're not deciding the fate the free world on these polls. Which if historical precedent is any indication have not been particularly scientifically neutral polls either.

We'd obviously like the results to be meaningful and accurate, but our first and foremost goal is to re-engage our IMDb users that imdb is a great place to take fun polls. If we can't accomplish that and traffic isn't satisfying than we can't just justify further investment on polls which would be a shame. They really are fun and your suggestions are awesome.

So, yes, probably putting the 'obvious' answers near the top does bias the result a bit. Maybe more than a bit. We have some data and we could run it and I would not be surprised if this were the case. But our current tools that draw the home page widget pull the first two poll answer pictures and they are there to draw attention to the poll. So if you put Darth Vader there, yes, pretty much everyone recognizes him and thinks, yes, It would be cool take a poll on "Most Nasty Villain", but instead if you put a fairly nasty but obscure villain from a 1930s film, then many users won't even notice the poll.

It's human nature. Popularity sells.

So for now, especially while we're still in the 'rebuilding' of the poll, we need to be extra thoughtful for construction polls that attract attention - and putting reasonable popular choices early in the poll is one of the few tools at our disposal at the moment. Once polls are built back into the DNA for our users we can relax some of those assumptions.

-hb

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Yes, we are examining why a number of people are coming to the poll page but not voting. Our initial hypothesis was that unregistered users realize they have to register for the poll and abandon the page. A second theory was that they are clicking on the title/name thinking they are voting. There is some evidence in various comments that suggest the second possibility. So, at least temporarily, we have disabled the title/name links.

We have better tools to determine what the real root cause is but they take a few days to gather enough data to be significant.

-hb

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A third possibility is that people check out the results of polls and decide not to vote when their favorite choice does not have a chance of winning.

A fourth possibility is that users realize that only one of their votes count for a poll. When I suggest voting in a poll, I've had people ask whether they can vote multiple times. American Idol and the People's Choice Awards have shown a skewed perspective on taking polls. It will be interesting to find out why new users do not vote after visiting poll page.

Two polls have been indicators on the minimum number of participants in polls:
Favorite American TV antihero?
Favorite Final Episode

As of October 26, 2013 8:52 PM they have had respectively 8,161 and 8,394 votes. These polls provide a lower bound of the number of people participating in the polls. At that time, there were a total of 159,607 votes for an average of 18.7 polls per person. However, IMDb own page visits analysis will provide a more accurate assessments.

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There is an obvious fifth reason why some people don't vote. Maybe they either find they're not that interested in the given poll after they clicked on it or they are unsatisfied with the poll options.

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If Your Poll Has Too Many Viable Items


This is a common problem, and large polls aren't better. A tightly worded, coherent poll is more appealing than sorting through an exhaustive list.

But sometimes there's just too many items. Here's some options:

1) Sort by popularity and remove ones that are unlikely to get any/many votes.
2) Restrict the options by a time-frame. By Year? By Decade?
3) Restrict the options by a geography. USA? UK?
4) Find another reasonable filtering mechanism: Male/Female star? Teen/Adult? Genre?
5) Look for opportunities to combine items - is a choice item really a "group"?
6) All else fails just acknowledge it's not exhaustive and label it "<title> #1" - if it's a popular poll, we'll run a #2, etc.

-hb

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Dan Dassow, Champion

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